Monthly Archives: April 2011

Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace is 60 years old. Both of them. By a twist of fate, two men on opposite sides of the Atlantic both had an idea for a young boy named Dennis and his dog getting in trouble with adults.

I had no idea that there was a British Dennis the Menace until I read the BBC article.

Just looking at the characters, you get two very different impressions of the them. The American smiling while riding his dog Ruff. He looks happy. Sure, he’s “Dennis the Menace,” but you get the (correct) impression that while he may cause more than his fair share of problems, it’s because he’s too naive, ambitious, clumsy for his ideas. He doesn’t want to cause problems, they’re just unfortunate and unforeseen (to him) side effects.

The British Dennis is also smiling, as is his dog Gnasher, but it’s unsettling. He looks like the kind of kid that would torture rats with hacksaw, and pull the wings of flies, before he feeds them to his dog in preparation for a fight. It’s not just this picture, it’s almost all of them. Of course, there’s no episode where the British Dennis mortally wounds a stray cat with an M80, but even watching an episode of the recent cartoon, left me with the impression that Dennis would eventually graduate to yob, and then later to full fledged football hooligan.

It’s All Just Bytes

Iñigo Quilez has more code-fu than you. In the video above, he creates a an eyecandy demo using Photoshop.

It’s a simple idea. He simple creates a 9 by 9 image, and places carefully chosen pixel values to write the assembly. The “magic” is that he saves the file as raw data, and then renames it as a .com file for execution in a DOS shell. Since the file is read as a raw stream of bytes, using Photoshop in this way, isn’t any different from using a hex editor. In fact, back in The Day™ (i.e. 1992-1994) PC World would recommend using write.exe to edit different DLLs in Windows 3.1 in order to create custom menus in file manager and such. The only catch was to avoid memory alignment problems by keeping the edited string the same length as the original.

Head-Coupled Perspective

Jeremie Francone and his advisor Laurence Nigay from the Engineering Human-Computer Interaction group at Grenoble Informatics Laboratory in Saint Martin d’Hères, France have created a demo that incorporates head tracking along with the gyroscope in the iPad and iPhone to implemented a 3D view without the annoying glasses.

Watching the video (attached below) shows that the effect is very impressive, especially with theholodeckesque background. While I’m sure this technology took quite a bit of work to develop, this is the type of thing that I’d hope would be converted into a simple widget for other visualization apps to take advantage of.

Previously. Previously.
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“Add to Wishlist” Indeed

HMS Ark Royal – former flag ship of the Royal Navy, veteran of Bosnia and both Iraqs – is available for purchase. All offers considered! Bids and plans for the boat are required to be submitted in writing.

The last aircraft carrier that made big news when sold was the Varyag. Unfinished, and rusting for a few years, the Russians sold it to a Chinese real estate mogul who said he wanted to turn it into a casino in Macau. Instead, it got towed to Dalian, a new paint job, a new name, the Shi Lang.

via Telestar Logistics